[-empyre-] Benjamin, Peter Weiss, the city as performative?

Ana Valdés agora158 at gmail.com
Wed Mar 14 03:41:06 EST 2012


Interesting references, Alan! The Living Theatre is an important part of my
own past, they defined themselves as anarchists and I met them in several
opportunities.
But going back to Weimar and to Weiss and to Anita Berber and Valeska Gert,
I am not aware of Weiss refering to them, not in his writings not in his
interviews. We lived in the same city, Stockholm, and I met him twice
before he died. He strucked me as a very humble man, not making great fuss
about his public persona.
But I was in Berlin last year and visited again the Bauhaus archive and it
was indeed Weiss time and the city as presence.
Berlin doesn't have the same literature or/and atmosphere as London, Rom or
Paris, but I love the city, I visited it many times, when the wall still
existed and afterwards. And I saw the altar of Pergamus which Weiss writes
about in "The Aesthetics of Resistance", probably the most magnificient
piece of religious and political architecture from the Ancient times.
Berlin is as a city, for me, a great example of what we discussed last
week, resilience and resistance.
Ana

On Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 5:04 PM, Alan Sondheim <sondheim at gmail.com> wrote:

> There's a lot of material on Weimar performance which tallies with this;
> I'm thinking particularly of performers like Anita Berber and Valeska Gert,
> both of whom have had a large influence on my work. Interestingly, much of
> the best performance work, much of the legacy, is the work of women. Gert
> later came to the US, and opened a cabaret/cafe here in NY for a time; she
> had an effect on Living Theater. Both Gert and Berber were within the
> imaginary of resistance; their own identity was on the line. There was also
> Mary Wigman, many others. This was all swept away of course. I'm just
> curious - did Weiss reference any of this?
>
> On Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 11:52 AM, Ana Valdés <agora158 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> I am reading again Peter Weiss "The Aesthetics of Resistance", the best
>> description of Berlin together with Döblins Berlin Alexanderplatz. The city
>> is described as a hub of energy, as the place where all converge, where
>> utopian thoughts and political work blends and interact.
>> Curiously I don't find in Weiss work (not only this one but all of his
>> writing, his Marat-Sade, his Process, etc) any reference to Benjamin. They
>> were not in the same age, Benjamin was born 1892, Weiss in 1916. They
>> belonged to different generations and they were intellectually quite
>> different.
>> Weiss saw himself as a people's intelectual, as someone anonymous, as
>> anonymous as the builders of the altar of Pergamus, which play such a
>> principal role in his book "The Aesthetics of Resistance". He was a
>> communist and believed in the workers as the base of the society, the ones
>> being destroyed by the gods in the altar of Pergamus.
>> Benjamin chose another path but for both writers the city was this canvas
>> where all activity could be performed and be herself a performer.
>> Ana
>>
>>
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http://www.twitter.com/caravia15859
http://www.scoop.it/t/art-and-activism/
http://www.scoop.it/t/food-history-and-trivia
http://www.scoop.it/t/gender-issues/
http://www.scoop.it/t/literary-exiles/
http://www.scoop.it/t/museums-and-ethics/
http://www.scoop.it/t/urbanism-3-0
http://www.scoop.it/t/postcolonial-mind/

mobil/cell +4670-3213370


"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with
your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always
long to return.
— Leonardo da Vinci
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